We’re not starting a cult but some followers on Instagram would be nice. Thank you.
At only 24 years old, Malaysian model and influencer Siew Pui Yi has done a lot.
Better known as Ms Puiyi, she first rose to fame through OnlyFans, which earned her a large following on Instagram, where she has over 20 million followers.
Now, her latest venture involves a blood-drinking creature at a creepy, deserted island.
How she got involved in Malaysian movie “Pulau”
Pui Yi stars in Malaysian horror movie “Pulau”, which was released in Cathay Cineplex cinemas in Singapore on Mar. 16.
In “Pulau”, a group of youngsters on vacation is forced to spend a night at a deserted island after losing a bet.
They stumble upon a mysterious, abandoned village on the island, and accidentally break an old spell, setting an evil spirit free.
One by one, the youngsters suffer gruesome consequences for their mistake.
Pui Yi plays a character called “Kitty”, who is one of the members of the youngsters’ rival group.
“Pulau” marks Pui Yi’s debut as an actor, another profession she has been wanting to try.
Speaking to Mothership, the influencer explained that she received an email from the producers of the movie about an audition for a role.
Intrigued by the proposal, Pui Yi went for the audition and did well enough to get casted.
“I think everyone wants to try things once in their life. [This role] happened to knock on my doorstep and I said ‘Hi’ to it.”
Experience as a first-time actor
Pui Yi described her movie-making experience as a “fun, exciting journey” with many important takeaways.
She learnt a lot from the other experienced actors on set, such as how to efficiently memorise her lines and focus when the camera is rolling.
She also learnt how to be mindful of the camera angles when shooting a scene, particularly for action sequences.
“For my scenes, it’s mostly actions… So when you do movement scenes outdoors, it’s very hard if I’m out of the angle so [the cast and crew] taught me a lot about these kind of stuff.”
Among all the skills she picked up, the biggest one wasn’t acting per se.
“For me, the biggest difficulty would be the diving because when I got this role, I didn’t have my diving license yet. I did not know anything about diving. It was a challenge for me to shoot underwater.”
Despite the challenges, it was all worth it for Pui Yi when the movie came out.
“I felt very surreal,” she said, when she first saw herself on the big screen, adding that while it was uncomfortable and weird to watch herself, it also made her smile.
Addressing the controversy surrounding the movie
“Pulau”, however, received a lot of flak from audiences at home when its trailer was first released.
Many Malaysians lamented that there were too many raunchy scenes that were unnecessary and inappropriate for audiences.
Pui Yi became the talk of the town as her character was seen making out with a man in the trailer.
Some also called Pui Yi a “porn star” due to her OnlyFans background, adding that she was showing excessive skin in the movie.
Responding to the criticism surrounding the movie, Pui Yi told Mothership:
“Of course, every country has their own media laws.
We are being respectful of all guidelines and grounds. If some countries or some audiences can accept the director’s cut version, of course we would be happy that you can watch the whole experience. If some would say no to it, then it’s fine as long as you enjoy the story… because it takes a lot of work…. Everyone spent a lot of nights and days trying to make the movie really nice to watch.”
The actress added that the movie has “a lot of layers” beyond the racy scenes many were concerned about.
It has made many “groundbreaking” moves for Malaysia’s film industry by including a diverse cast and showcasing the beauty of the country through its various locations, Pui Yi elaborated.
A week before the movie was set to be released in Malaysia, producer Fred Chong revealed that 10 scenes had to be cut for it to get a PG-13 classification in the country.
“I’m fine [with the cut scenes]. The reason why is because on set, the director already told me that we would film two different versions,” Pui Yi said.
In Singapore, no cuts were made to the movie, although it holds an M18 rating for sexual scenes and some violence.
One of the more sexually explicit scenes involved Pui Yi being frisky with another character in an abandoned house at the island.
Controversies aside, Pui Yi also addressed some of the poor reviews the movie had garnered, saying:
“In everything that we do, there would be feedback all the time. So maybe [this movie] would inspire someone else to produce such similar film in a better quality.
That would be good, because it means we are moving forward… But someone needs to take the first step. Hopefully this would inspire more young, talented scriptwriters, directors, producers to be able to continue this advancement.”
Despite it all, “Pulau” raked in RM1.2 million (S$360,350) after only four days of its release.
With the box office success of “Pulau”, Pui Yi has achieved yet another milestone this year.
She started off 2023 by DJ-ing at her first international festival.
The following month, she announced her own scholarship programme for underprivileged students.
Her scholarship programme
Pui Yi told Mothership that the idea for the scholarship programme began “many years ago”.
“I could not pursue my studies because my family couldn’t afford me going to university. So I had to fight for my scholarship. I had to study hard because the quota for scholarships was also actually quite limited.
So this gave me an idea that one day, if I could, I would like to start a scholarship programme and thankfully, this year we could start it.”
The influencer’s scholarship programme is in collaboration with Educapital Foundation, who has been “very professional”.
There are a few tiers to her scholarship programme, explained Pui Yi.
Firstly, there are grants that aim to help the underprivileged students pay for their tuition fees.
The programme also offers a fully sponsored scholarship for a limited number of students, who would be sent to the U.S. for their studies.
To determine which student is eligible for the sponsorship, Pui Yi said that factors such as the student’s financial issues and familial problems would be taken into consideration.
“If you maintain a good score until you graduate, as in the top scorer, we will give you a USD50,000 to start your business after you graduate,” she added.
Pui Yi said that there have been over 200,000 students who have applied for the scholarship since its inception.
So what’s next for her?
With everything she has going on, 2023 is looking good for Pui Yi so far.
And we’re only three months into the year.
Pui Yi has more upcoming projects this year, too.
As she has been DJ-ing a lot lately, the influencer will be releasing some new music in the coming months, and hopes to produce more in the future.
Pui Yi will also be starring in another Malaysian film, “KL Love Story”. It’s a romance flick that features veteran Malaysian actor Steve Yap.
When asked if she would pursue more acting roles in the future, Pui Yi simply replied: “I would if there are more fun roles to play.”
“Pulau” is now screening in Cathay Cineplex.
Written by Syahindah Ishak.
Top images via Mothership & pulaumovie/Instagram. Quotes were edited for clarity.
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